US winning hearts and minds and al Qaeda losing them
A battle raged in west Baghdad on Thursday after residents rose up against al-Qaida and called for U.S. military help to end random gunfire that forced people to huddle indoors and threats that kept students from final exams, a member of the district council said.This is evidence that the surge is working in spades. As Lt.Col. Kilcullen would say, this is good counterinsurgency stuff. When the people are calling for help to get the kids to school because the religious bigots of al Qaeda are shooting up the place that is a clear win. The Democrats will probably not believe this story because it mentions that al Qaeda is in Iraq and that the Iraqis really want us to help them get rid of al Qaeda. John Murtha is probably really in denial about these facts on the ground.
U.S. forces backed by helicopter gunships clashed with suspected al- Qaida gunmen in western Baghdad's primarily Sunni Muslim Amariyah neighborhood in an engagement that lasted several hours, said the district councilman, who would not allow use of his name for fear of al-Qaida retribution.
Casualty figures were not immediately available and there was not immediate word from the U.S. military on the engagement.
But the councilman said the al-Qaida leader in the Amariyah district, known as Haji Hameed, was killed and 45 other fighters were detained.
Members of al-Qaida, who consider the district part of their so-called Islamic State of Iraq, were preventing students from attending final exams, shooting randomly and forcing residents to stay in their homes, the councilman said.